Sunday, November 29, 2020

Premier League in cloak and dagger intrigues

The Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) confirmed this week that it was investigating the Botswana Premier League (BPL), marking the highest water mark in the cloak and dagger intrigues rocking Botswana football.

DCEC investigators swooped on the BPL offices Thursday, confiscating documents, phones and computers. What is understood to have started off as a coup de tat against BPL Chief Executive Officer Bennett Mamelodi, BPL Board Chairperson Walter Kgabung and his Vice Solomon Mantswe, escalated into melodrama as graft busters raided BPL offices, in the full glare of the media and local football clubs. 

In classic cloak and dagger style, all involved in the intrigue seem sworn to secrecy and the few who are prepared to break the silence are insisting on anonymity.

Reached for comment, the DCEC Public Relations Officer (PRO) Phakamile Kraai confirmed that they are investigating BPL, but would not disclose details. “I can confirm that DCEC is investigating the Botswana Premier League and as investigations are still at their infancy we cannot comment further,” the DCEC said in a terse statement. An attempt to seek clarification from the interim BPL Chairman Rapula Okaile also hit a snag, with Okaile stating that he could not comment on the matter as it is now in the hands of the DCEC.

Sources privy to the issue have informed Sunday Standard that the DCEC is investigating how the BPL fell 2 million pula in the red. “For the past four months, teams have not got their monthly grants from the BPL. When approached BPL failed to account on how they accrued a P2 million deficit. All that the clubs want is to know what happened to the monies,” the source explained. “As a leader of an organisation, when you are facing a budget deficit, you call on your board and employees and inform them of such. You give them a detailed report of how and why you fell into such a deficit. However, in a situation whereby a leader cannot explain how the deficit came about, as is with the BPL, questions have to be asked and decision taken,” the source said. Another source privy to the situation however lamented the backhandedness of those involved in the impeachment of Mamelodi. “They are aware that the BPL has in the past informed them that it owed the taxman.

What we have come to know is that BURS has decided to get itself paid the money it was owed by the BPL, culminating in the deficit, hence the BPL failing to pay clubs their monthly grants,” the source revealed. The source further stated that prior to the Saturday BPL Board meeting that suspended Mamelodi and recalled Kgabung and Mantswe, there had been a concerted campaign by a certain cabal of clubs to depose the BPL CEO.   Meanwhile, a source close to the BPL Board says the board is looking to carry out their own forensic audit of the BPL accounts. According to the source, the board is looking for a ‘competent auditor’ and may even rope in foreign auditors should the need arise.

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Sunday Standard November 29 – 5 December

Digital copy of Sunday Standard issue of November 29 - 5 December, 2020.